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Dens of Infamy in Wellington.

* A RAID ON THE BACK SLUMS. Ono of tho most diprepntable quarters in Wellington — a collection of miserablo hovels in Ghuznoc-street, adjoining tho Chinamen's gardens, and commonly known as "Tho Babbit-burrows" — was raided by tho polico ut a Into hour last night. Tho hnt* have for a long time boon tho rendezvous of convicted thioves and prostitutos, and within tho last fow months two or threo cases have beon brought nnderpublio notice in reforence to the frequenters. The complaints of the residents in tho vioinity harvo lately been so frequent that the police felt called upon to tako stringent action and clear ont at least tho worst characters. CoiiHtablos Boskivillo and Duncan, and Actinfj-Dotcctivo Walker accordingly proceeded to tho place this morning, and apprehended an elderly man named Estall, his two daughters, and two Bonn, besides two women namud Mary Taylor and Nellie Neilson. A woll-known character n.amod Mary Ann Winter wan atao found, but sho could not be romoved, boing a cripplo, and a woman named Arnold was ill in bed and not in a fit a tn to to be arrested. Tho prisoners were brought up at tho Magistrate's Court this morning, boforo Messrs. R. M. Simpson, G. V. Shannon, and J. Saundorß, Justices. Charles Estall. father of the hopeful progony, was charged with having no lawful visible moans of support. Constable Baskivillo said accusod had lived in the brothel, which was "the greatest don in Wellington, " for the last six months. He deponded upon the prostitution of his daughters. Inspector Browne f aid that the "Rabbit-burrows" were buildings measuring about Bft by Bft, and tho back slums of London were nothing to them. The floors were aoverqd with all kinds of filth— human and otherwise— and the occupants slept with only sacks ovor them. Several residents in tho vioinity oould testify that fights wore carried on, and tho place was a disgrace to the city. Thomas Turner said that tho language and conduct carried on in accused's house were most disgraceful. Accused had not worked for some time past. In reply to tho Bonch, accused said that he was a labouring man, and worked when he could find employment. His last billet was on tho wharf, perhaps a week ago. James Pethoriok deposed that aooused occupied a good position until about 12 months ago, but since then his sole occupation seemed to have been that of running to and from the hotel. He also acted as a decoy for his daughters, and witness had frequently seen him taking men to the houso. Accused — May God forgive you for a liar ! Accused was called to order for the exolamation, and also for subsequently stating that tho witness was telling a falsehood. Tho Bench sentenced accused to three months' imprisonment. Tho Chairman oxpressed his sense of the degradation to which the aconsed, though previously of respeotablo character, had been brought, and said that if the Justices oould have inflicted more sovero punishment they would have done so. Nellie Neilson, Mary Taylor, Graco Estall, and Maud Entail wore placed in tho box, and each pleaded Not Guilty to the charge of vagrancy. Aoting-Deteotivo Walker said ho had known three of the aoonsed a? prostitutos for Ihe last two yoars. Their hoaso was frequented by prostitutes, and he had often seen them about tho streets. Taylor Btated that sho had been housekeeper to Mr. Wooldom tor the last threo years. Detective Walker said that the woman had lived with Wooldom. He described the tenements as being about 4ft in height, measuring about 6ft by 6ft. Thoy were all alike, and a man could hardly turn round in them, for thoy wore just like paoking-cascs. There wero six rooms in all, but if put together they would not make one decent room for a white man to live in. Constables Reddell and Baskivillo also gave evidence. The latter stated that the houses wero built of old boxos, with Baoks thrown over them for a roof. Tho occupants simply " dossed down" on the floor — in fact it was simply crawling. Thomas Turner and Jamos Petherick testified to tho nuisanco caused by the estabishment. In answer to the question as to their means of support, the Estalls said thoy wore kept by who 'is their grandfather^ ' Taylor said sho was WoolfjomV housekeoper. Neilson stated that money was being supplied to her by her mother. Henry Wooldom, an infirm old man, who gave his age as 79, was called as a witness for the defence, and said that Taylor was his housekeeper and nurse. He partly kept his grand-children, bnt (with a leer) did not know about the other part. He was a florist and seedsman and had a quarter of an acre of land, bosidos which he received 8s a week as rent for his houses. They were called the " rabbit' burrows " bpoanse he brought rabbits with him when he oame from Homo, and had bred them ever since. Noilcon (against whom there were seven previous convictions) and Taylor (three previous conyiotions) were sentenoed to three months' imprisonment, and Grace Estall and Maud Estall were committed for two months. Henry Wooldom was called to answer a summons charging him with being the occupier of a house off Ghnznoe-street frequented by persons having no visible means of guppprt. Constable O'Ro'urko', Court Htdofly, stated that '^ofonSant, 1 wtfo ia tho grandfather pf two of the girls already senfepced, had been seized with a fit. Inspoptor Browne withdrew the information, put said he would renew a if he found that defendant did not olose his disreputable establishment. Alfred Estall and Brnce Estall, aged 10 and 12, were chargod with being children living with prostitutes. On tho application of Inspector Browne, they wore remanded until Tuesday next, so that the case might como before the Rosident Magistrate.

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Dens of Infamy in Wellington. Evening Post, Volume XXXIV, Issue 32, 6 August 1887

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